14 Types of Breads for Sandwiches

When you’re a sandwich lover, you know that different types of breads for sandwiches make the whole experience. Pastrami goes on on rye bread. Italian meatballs go on a sub roll. But regardless of whether your sandwich calls for a classic white bread, a hearty whole wheat, a pita pocket, or something more adventurous, making your own sandwich bread takes your lunch game to the next level.

Yes, you can buy sandwich bread at the store, but it’s never as good as homemade, and it never seems to stay fresh. So go ahead and explore all the types of breads for sandwiches that are perfect for beginners and seasoned bakers alike. And don’t forget to share your sandwich creations!

a sliced loaf of pretzel bread on a cutting board with a bread knife.
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Ingredients

The 4 key ingredients of sandwich breads are flour, yeast, salt, and some liquid to bring it all together.

Flour

There are literally hundreds of flour options for you to pick from for your sandwich breads. Use bread flour, whole wheat flour, gluten-free flour, rye flour, semolina flour, and so on. I recommend buying flour for sandwich breads from two reliable brands: King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill.

Flours differ based on what they’re made from and what parts of the wheat they’re made from, among other things. One of the biggest differences in types of flour is their protein content, with higher protein flours needed for gluten development in your bread. If you want, you can read so much just about flour.

Flour storage and safety

Flour does go rancid, so it’s best to store flour you use regularly in air-tight containers in your pantry to minimize it absorbing water from the air. If you are lucky to have the freezer space, the freezer is the best place for long-term flour storage. This is particularly great if you make a lot of pie and pastries or shortbread cookies, where you want to keep the dough chilled.

You should also know that it’s not just the raw eggs that makes eating cookie dough a risk for food-borne illness. Salmonella has also been linked to eating uncooked flour, and the FDA warns against home heat-treating because it may not kill the bacteria.

Yeast

Just like with flour, breads for sandwiches can use different types of yeast – instant, active, fresh, or sourdough. Picking among them mostly depends on what you’re most comfortable with, although instant yeast is probably the easiest for the beginner bread baker.

Make sure to check the expiration date of your yeast before you use it, because yeast will die over time. Your bread rises because of little single-celled living creatures that eat the complex sugars and convert it to carbon dioxide gas bubbles and alcohol!

Salt

All types of breads for sandwiches need salt! It’s not only critical for the flavor development in your sandwich bread, but salt also slows down the yeast, giving you stronger gluten development.

Tip from the wise quacker: yeast are single-celled fungi. “They say” that adding salt at the same time as yeast can lead to osmotic pressure that kills the yeast, resulting in less fermentation and rise and potentially affecting your bread’s texture and flavor. It’s not clear if avoiding this really makes a difference, but it can’t hurt.

Liquid

The liquid you add rounds out the four key ingredients in all breads. It’s often water, thus the name of the book title Flour Water Salt Yeast. But you can substitute other liquids like milk or even beer, and so bread doesn’t specifically require water.

Variations and substitutions

This is where you get to use your imagination, but here are some ideas to start you off:

  • Add combinations of nuts, seeds, or your favorite dry herbs.
  • Swirl in a layer of cinnamon sugar, ube halaya, or pesto alla Genovese.
  • Color half your bread dough and swirl the two halves together to make a marble rye or other swirl bread.

Sandwich bread tips and tricks

How to make bread rise

Tip from the wise quacker: The best ambient temperature for making bread is in the high 70s. If your home is cool, you can create a warm, place in two ways: 1) Turn on your oven (use the proofing function if it has one) and turn it off when it reaches 80 degrees. Or heat a microwave-safe cup of water in your microwave for a minute or two. Remove the water and quickly add your bread dough.

Tip from the wise quacker: The best ambient temperature for making bread is in the high 70s. If your home is cool, you can create a warm, place in two ways: 1) Turn on your oven (use the proofing function if it has one) and turn it off when it reaches 80 degrees or 2) Heat a microwave-safe cup of water in your microwave for a minute or two. Remove the water and quickly add your bread dough.

Yeast is the not-so-secret secret agent in bread making. You can speed up the bread-making process by adding more yeast or by putting the bowl in a warmer place. Or slow down the process by using less yeast and letting your dough rise in the refrigerator overnight. That flavor development with the slower rise is most important for breads made with just flour, water, and salt.

Tip from the wise quacker: The best ambient temperature for making bread is in the high 70s. If your home is cool, you can create a warm, place in two ways: 1) Turn on your oven (use the proofing function if it has one) and turn it off when it reaches 80 degrees or 2) Heat a microwave-safe cup of water in your microwave for a minute or two. Remove the water and quickly add your bread dough.

How to shape different types of breads for sandwiches

Loaf pans make it easy to slice your bread into the perfect sized slices for sandwiches. Depending on the recipe, I might use a 9 inch by 5 inch metal loaf pan, a Pullman pan for square bread slices, or a covered ceramic pan for more crusty loaves.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to shaping your bread! Here’s a great video to show you how to shape a sandwich loaf.

Cooking and cooling sandwich breads

Most sandwich breads should be cooked to an internal temperature of 190° to 195°, or possibly up to 210° Fahrenheit, depending on the type of bread. They should be a golden brown, and the bottom should give a hollow sound when lightly thumped.

And most important, let your bread cool after baking to let the steam escape and the final texture develop. I know it’s tempting, but please don’t slice into your bread for at least an hour after baking!

Sandwich bread FAQs

What’s the easiest bread to make?

If you are a beginner bread baker, I always recommend starting with no-knead bread. You will be amazed how easy it is to make a delicious loaf of homemade bread.

How long does homemade sandwich bread last?

Let your bread cool completely and then store it in a plastic bag. It will stay fresh at room temperature for two to three days. If you won’t eat it by then, slice it and put into freezer bags in the freezer. Never store bread in the refrigerator or it will quickly dry out and go stale.

What are some other uses for sandwich breads?

Challah and other enriched breads are great for French toast and bread puddings. And if you are comfortable with these types of bread dough, you can make yeasted cakes like babka. And, of course, if you have stale bread, it can be used as croutons or breadcrumbs for meatballs and meatloaves or this watermelon panzanella.

grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough discard bread.

14 types of breads for sandwiches

The classic sandwich bread is light, white, and a little sweet.

Sweet Portuguese White Bread
This sweet Portuguese bread recipe is great for those times you want a soft, light bread for sandwiches. It’s a sweet, enriched bread with a special punch of flavor from the citrus zest and vanilla extract.
Sweet Portuguese White Bread
loaf of sweet Portuguese bread with several slices and a bread knife on a cutting board

Adding even a cup of whole wheat flour to your sandwich bread loaves gives them a bit more structure and flavor and improves their quality. Or use another flour like rye or semolina for even more variety.

Sweet Brown Bread
This sandwich bread is an adaptation of the Outback Steakhouse brown bread. It has less sweetener than the original but keeps all of the flavor. This is the most asked for bread for sandwiches in my household!
Sweet Brown Bread
a loaf of sweet brown bread on a cutting board with two slices, knife, and napkin.
Honey Wheat
50% whole wheat flour in this sandwich bread wins over the adults, and yet it’s soft and light enough for the kiddo.
Honey Wheat Bread
loaf of honey wheat bread and slices on a cutting board.
Semolina Bread Recipe
This semolina bread recipe makes a soft and nutty-flavored bread loaf with semolina flour that's perfect for your favorite sandwich. Or make it as a free-standing, rustic semolina loaf and serve it aside your favorite soup and salad.
Semolina Bread Recipe.
a loaf of yellowish semolina bread, four slices, and a bread knife on a cutting board.
Russian Rye
Adapted from my sweet brown bread, this 50% rye sandwich bread is a denser loaf, fragrant with fennel and caraway seeds. You can call it a Russian black bread if you use the black cocoa variation.
Russian Rye Bread
sliced loaf of black russian rye bread on a cutting board.

You can change up your sandwich breads by adding toppings like sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or salt. Or use add-ins to the dough like raisins, herbs, or seeds.

Pretzel Bread
This pretzel bread won’t fool you into thinking that you’re eating a soft pretzel. But it is perfect for turkey sandwiches with a bit of mustard.
Pretzel Bread Loaf
a sliced loaf of pretzel bread on a cutting board with a bread knife.
Orange Raisin Challah
This orange raisin challah is soft, fragrant, and slightly-sweet. It makes a lovely sandwich bread or base for French toast. It's also the only challah recipe I will ever need.
Orange Raisin Challah
a 5 braid raisin challah with four slices and bread knife.
turkey and cheese sandwich on a challah bun.
Challah Rolls
Leave out the raisins, and you can shape challah into sandwich rolls.
Challah Buns
a basket of challah buns.
Purple Cow Milk Bread
It's a purple cow!! Make patterned bread out of a Japanese milk bread recipe.
Purple Cow Milk Bread
slices of bread in a purple cow pattern.
Rainbow Bread
Or celebrate the rainbow with this version of Japanese milk bread.
Check out this Rainbow Bread recipe.
three slices of rainbow bread on a cutting board with a knife.
Sourdough Discard Bread
Use a bit of instant yeast with your sourdough discard to make this cheater sourdough bread recipe.
Sourdough Discard Bread
slice of sourdough discard bread with walnuts on a plate with cheese slices.
turkey sandwich made with purple swet potato sourdough bread.
Purple Sweet Potato Sourdough
Baked and mashed purple sweet potato gives this bread its gorgeous pink color.
Purple Sweet Potato Sourdough
a loaf of pink-tinked purple sweet potato sourdough with three slices and a bread knife.
Bacon Sweet Potato Sourdough
Or add crisped bacon to your bread dough to make a sandwich bread that makes a top notch grilled cheese sandwich.
Bacon Sweet Potato Sourdough
grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough discard bread.
Pita
Homemade pita pockets are easy to make. Serve them with your next Middle Eastern or Mediterranean-inspired meal to stuff meatballs or dip into hummus.
Homemade Pita Pockets
eight pita in a wire bread basket.

Other types of breads for sandwiches

There are some obvious choices for sandwiches not included here. I’ve made baguettes at home but have been disappointed in the taste compared to bakery baguettes. English muffins and bagels make great breakfast sandwiches. Or you can even use a waffle – these peanut butter waffles make amazing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

Check out some toppings and spreads to go on your sandwiches:

What’s next?

If you make any of these types of breads for sandwiches, please leave a comment or rating. And tag @uglyducklingbakery with your sandwiches and sandwich bread photos on Instagram!

I’ve started a Facebook group for cooks, bakers, and cocktail makers. Please join the conversation.

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2 Comments

  1. Sandwiches are my children’s favorite food; they love to take them as their lunch and snack in their school here in Pompano Beach, FL.
    I like how you explain that most sandwich bread should be baked to an internal temperature of 190° to 195° Fahrenheit, or even up to 210° Fahrenheit, depending on the type of bread. They should be golden brown, with a hollow sound when lightly knocked on the bottom.

    1. Hi Marie – thanks for the note! So many of us are struggling with what to send as school lunches. I think you and I are lucky that our kids like sandwiches. Hope you all stayed safe during Ian! Joanne

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